Feb 062013

This post is part of a meta-series. Click here for a list of all posts in this series.

Finished up reshaping and rounding the edges on the door segments. Still need to add some detailing to them and the tracks they travel along.

In addition to the usual render, I decided to do a little animation test to see how they looked while opening. It’s just an OpenGL render rather than a full Cycles render, since it didn’t seem worth doing a full-quality render for a test animation.

Timing’s roughly based on the door sequence from ST5, with each door segment taking three seconds to move into position over the neighboring segment and the all-segments opening sequence taking 12 seconds. The ST5scene showed that the doors can be opened selectively, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to open all four segments on each side to their full extension to admit a single shuttle. I imagine the full-wide opening is for high-traffic situations, as might be found when the ship is in drydock.

Ended up going down some dumb rabbit holes while redoing the doors, but here they are, all nice and animated. Originally, I was trying distort the shape so that top-down curve was “longer” than it was “wide,” but when this proved absurd to try and animate, I decided to step back and just make the whole thing circular. It’s now substantially easier to animate and ended up looking way better!

Ignore the pause between each segment. The ultimate plan is to stagger them a bit, so as one is slowing down/ending, the next one will be starting to move. It’ll still give it a sort of wave of motion appearance, but it won’t be so staggered, the way it does now.

Now I need to retool that detail inset…

At long last, I think the secondary hull is done! The doors now have sunken troughs to slide along, which give the doors a visual termination point. When I get around to texturing, I’ll be adding little skid/wear marks along the paths each door takes to indicate use and such. Also mangled the detail inset so that it matches the new shape of the doors, and I also made it about six times as deep as it was, which makes those details a lot more visible now. Added some access panels (for emergency door opening, I suppose?) to the outermost bay door. Completely rebuilt the shuttlebay interior and interior/exterior hull transition point so that it’s nice and smooth. Once again immensely grateful that someone wrote such a flexible Fillet add-on. A lot of this work would be significantly harder without it!

Next stop: detailing the nacelle pylons!

Pylons done. Not a lot to say other than that.

Next up, finishing the nacelles. Then it’s on to interiors.

Some stats, for those curious.

  • Elapsed project time so far: 286 hours.
  • Time spent in-Blender: 247 hours.
  • Time spent on initial shape and saucer: 160 hours (139 hours)
  • Time spent on neck/secondary hull and render research: 123 hours (106 hours)

Spent some time with my old friends, the warp nacelles. Spent far too much time fooling around with the subsurface cages before finally freezing them, added in the Bussard field emitters (or whatever the orange bits are!), the insets on top of the nacelles, running lights, and refined the shape of the internal warp coils a bit.

Whole thing is just under a million polygons at present, with all its subsurfaces frozen and as optimized as I’m going to bother optimizing them.

There are a few bits of detailing left to do (including the RCS thrusters), I need to amp up the subdivisions on the warp field grilles in the back, and then do the internal plasma injector mechanism (which should also help how see-through the back of the nacelle is right now).

Then there are a few things to fix/add to the saucer…and it’s on to interiors!

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